Typically, when we think of fashion icons some of the types of people that come to mind are supermodels, pop stars, actors, and even reality television stars. Today, many fashion designers are finding a new type of muse: drag queens. With the popularity of the Emmy winning television show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and the rising attendance of pride festivals all over the country, drag has never had a platform quite as large as it does today. Many famous drag performers have risen to the top of the fashion industry, modeling on catwalks, being the face of ad campaigns, and posing for high fashion magazines. Some of the most notable queens making waves in the industry today are Miss Fame, Violet Chachki, and Aquaria

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Gender norms are tough. We are raised and taught as children that certain clothing items are fair game, while others are off-limits for no reason other than being “too girly” or “too boyish.” The restrictive confines of gender are piled upon us from a young age in both subliminal and direct messaging that causes a justifiable amount of confusion for individuals in our society. But what if we didn’t have to choose? That’s why Ukranian fashion designers Dima Chayun and Anton Yakshyn launched their brand Chakshyn in 2015, a clothing line inspired by the glaring but often overlooked shared aspects of masculine and feminine clothing. 

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Within the fashion industry in recent years, “fast fashion” has grown to dominate the landscape, causing an increase in cheaply-made, disposable clothes. A stark contrast to this unsustainable system, British designer Edward Crutchley has risen to prominence in the fashion world with his flair for unique prints and textiles, an admirable work-ethic, and a focus on self-responsibility.

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The first image on luxury-brand social media manager Candace Marie Stewart’s website is of her clothed in all-white with cowrie shells threaded into her elaborately coiffed braids. There are a regal quality and quiet repose to the way she carries herself which complements her eclectic street-style. Her appearance is bold, striking, and dignified, which seems only natural for someone who has masterminded unique social media campaigns for the luxury department store Barney’s New York and Italian luxury brand Prada

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Models, draped beautifully with flowy fabric, stood still to the point that they appeared as statues and blended with the vibrant scenery. It felt like I had been transported to a whimsical garden, filled with flowers and greenery, and hazy smoke. The details spoke to me, from an ornately designed patterned coat to the floral accents placed on the models hands, and their dewey, dream-like makeup. To me this exhibition emulated gods and goddesses of the spring, with models lounging about and caressing their elegant tulle gowns. Art Meso managed to capture not only my attention, but also my imagination, allowing my sense of childlike wonder to resurface. 

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